Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 2 of 2 items for :

  • Author or Editor: Dale R. Durran x
  • Terrain-Induced Rotor Experiment (T-Rex) x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
James D. Doyle
and
Dale R. Durran

Abstract

The internal structure and dynamics of rotors that form in the lee of topographic ridges are explored using a series of high-resolution eddy-resolving numerical simulations. Surface friction generates a sheet of horizontal vorticity along the lee slope that is lifted aloft by the mountain lee wave at the boundary layer separation point. Parallel-shear instability breaks this vortex sheet into small intense vortices or subrotors.

The strength and evolution of the subrotors and the internal structure of the main large-scale rotor are substantially different in 2D and 3D simulations. In 2D, the subrotors are less intense and are ultimately entrained into the larger-scale rotor circulation, where they dissipate and contribute their vorticity toward the maintenance of the main rotor. In 3D, even for flow over a uniform infinitely long barrier, the subrotors are more intense, and primarily are simply swept downstream past the main rotor along the interface between that rotor and the surrounding lee wave. The average vorticity within the interior of the main rotor is much weaker and the flow is more chaotic.

When an isolated peak is added to a 3D ridge, systematic along-ridge velocity perturbations create regions of preferential vortex stretching at the leading edge of the rotor. Subrotors passing through such regions are intensified by stretching and may develop values of the ridge-parallel vorticity component well in excess of those in the parent, shear-generated vortex sheet. Because of their intensity, such subrotor circulations likely pose the greatest hazard to aviation.

Full access
Patrick A. Reinecke
and
Dale R. Durran

Abstract

The sensitivity of downslope wind forecasts to small changes in initial conditions is explored by using 70-member ensemble simulations of two prototypical windstorms observed during the Terrain-Induced Rotor Experiment (T-REX). The 10 weakest and 10 strongest ensemble members are composited and compared for each event.

In the first case, the 6-h ensemble-mean forecast shows a large-amplitude breaking mountain wave and severe downslope winds. Nevertheless, the forecasts are very sensitive to the initial conditions because the difference in the downslope wind speeds predicted by the strong- and weak-member composites grows to larger than 28 m s−1 over the 6-h forecast. The structure of the synoptic-scale flow one hour prior to the windstorm and during the windstorm is very similar in both the weak- and strong-member composites.

Wave breaking is not a significant factor in the second case, in which the strong winds are generated by a layer of high static stability flowing beneath a layer of weaker mid- and upper-tropospheric stability. In this case, the sensitivity to initial conditions is weaker but still significant. The difference in downslope wind speeds between the weak- and strong-member composites grows to 22 m s−1 over 12 h. During and one hour before the windstorm, the synoptic-scale flow exhibits appreciable differences between the strong- and weak-member composites. Although this case appears to be more predictable than the wave-breaking event, neither case suggests that much confidence should be placed in the intensity of downslope winds forecast 12 or more hours in advance.

Full access